Evil Gal Productions

Mere Smith
is a recovering Southerner,
longtime TV writer,
author and blogger.
July 15th, 2014 by Mere Smith

If You Want To See Me Puke Onstage

Evening (/morning/afternoon/6:02 p.m. GMT), ladies and gentletoads!

gentletoad

 

A rare update from the whirlwind my life has become. All willingly and eager, fear not – but I can see Exhaustion from here, and she’s waving. So I’m trying to take care of myself, trying to walk slower while doing more faster. Two deadlines this weekend and a reading/signing on Saturday night, which is technically the reason I’ve called this board meeting, but it feels impolite to shill you without foreplay, so…

Répétez. Begin at the beginning.

As you may have noticed, the blog’s kinda taken a back seat at the mo’ – fabulous things are afoot, but there’s only so much writing you can do in a day without your brain dripping out your nose in grey splats. Things should calm down soon, though, and I plan to come back here and regale you with all my wacky adventures in… yeah okay I’m totally making this up. (The wackiest thing I’ve been doing lately is listening to Sia’s new album on repeat. Wild times.) At the very least, I’ll try to make future posts unsucky and not-boring. That is my A-1 Quality Writing Promise™ to you.

The great news is, I’ve started working with some sharp-ass producing partners who came to me with a very unusual idea – and now I’m getting to collaborate and elaborate on that idea in every direction. There’s no graphic novel or video game to adapt this time, just a premise, so I’m getting free rein to craft conflicted characters and indulge in world-building (oh hi favorite things ever) in a very specific – but still classified – “mode” that is challenging me like no other project I’ve done. So naturally I’ve fallen in love with the damn thing.

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More as it progresses. ‘Til then keep it under your hats, palookas. That’s why I posted it on the internet. It’s private-like.

Elsewise, in an effort to maintain my energy and sanity, I’ve been working out at the gym like a motherfucker. Getting up at 5 a.m. five days a week: cardio, weights, kickboxing, yoga. Basically I’m living on endorphins and espresso at this point – not an uncommon state for a writer – in addition to enough ibuprofen to do laps in. Anybody reading this in their 20s best be enjoying your youthful resilience or I swear to Christmas I will beat that shit out of you. For me, now, almost every day some body part or other starts whining: ooh, my shoulder, ooh, my calves, my back, my ass, my toes. Places that never used to hurt after I exercised, but surprise! you wake up and you’re a few months from 40 and you didn’t even think that thing back there was a muscle, much less that you could tweak it by sneezing on the elliptical machine.

It’s times like this – the morning times, when my feet hit the floor, the joints in my body cracking loud and continuously like microwave popcorn - I remember a TV clip I saw years and years ago, a sports reporter interviewing a decathlete, a guy who’d chosen to keep competing despite a strained hamstring.

The – clearly dim – reporter asked later, “But weren’t you in pain?”

The decathlete answered, “Well, we do ten sports. There’s always something’s gonna hurt. Soon as you accept that, you stop worrying about it.”

There’s always something’s gonna hurt.

Well I’ll swan, from the mouths of jocks…

buddha

 

….Buddha speaks.

Meanwhile, between the soreness itself and the magma-hot Indonesian muscle rub I use to combat it, the searing pain reminds me I’m alive.

And holy shitsnacks am I really, really alive lately.

So alive, in fact, I’m doing something I never thought I’d do: standing up in a room full of people and reading my writing aloud.

(I’m ruining that slick segue to say, “Did you catch that slick segue?”)

MONSTER TRUCK VOICE:

THIS SATURDAY!

(SATURDAY!)

(SATURDAY!)

 

Under the aegis of Shades & Shadows, a dark fantasy, horror, and science fiction performance series, I’ll be reading an excerpt from my book…

 

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…at the California Institute of Abnormal Arts (honestly, who didn’t see that one coming?) (okay, maybe the reporter), located in North Hollywood:

 

calif-inst-abnorm-arts

 

I, for one, feel very reassured to see John’s Lawn Mower & Saw right across the street. If ever a company name cried out for dark fantasy, “John’s Lawn Mower & Saw” ranks right up there for ominous titles. These Shades & Shadows folks know what they’re doing.

More specific details:

shades-shadows-tweetable-image

 

I’m not sure why I’m billed last, but I’m pretty confident it’s a badge of honor. Either that, or someone paid them to put me on at the very end so I’d have the whole show to work up enough anxiety vomit to spew over the entire first row. And now that I think about it, that sounds way more plausible than the first explanation.

Here’s the deal: I have seven minutes to read, and a couple ideas for passages to use – but I know these stories so well, it’s hard to take a step back and decide which section might be best for people who aren’t familiar with my work. So in the Comments section below, or if you’d like to contact me through Twitter (@EvilGalProds), I would LOVE to hear suggestions from anyone and everyone who’s read Cowface And Other Hilarious Stories About Death. Maybe a favorite scene, favorite character, favorite moment – fact is, I’m begging for help in not putting a bunch of people to sleep with my yappity-yap. It’s either this, or show my boobs onstage, and frankly I think the boobs thing will only hold them for 30 seconds – which still leaves me six and a half minutes to fill. Nobody wants to see what comes after that.

I pre-appreciate and thank you for your advice, and I hope to see you Saturday*!

 

P.S. Cowface will be available for sale at the show (with free Evil Gal bookmarks inside!), and I’d be thrilled to sign anything you bring. Even body parts. Even severed body parts, because in California that’s only, what? A misdemeanor, tops? I WILL DO THAT SHIT FOR YOU, FRIEND.

 

 

 

* Those seated in the first row may want to bring plastic sheeting. There’s a possibility it could get very Millie Brown Does Gallagher.

June 2nd, 2014 by Mere Smith

TRADE and The Nextnextnext

As most of my readers know, at the beginning of 2014, I spent eight weeks isolated in a cabin up in Washington state, writing a spec script of “Elementary”.

I’ve talked about it a bit already, but as I gain more distance and perspective, I’m starting to understand why the entire experience, rather than simply a writing retreat, was such a true SHAKABUKU – though not at all in the way I’d expected.

For in all that blessed quiet alone time – no TV, no Internet, no people – not only did I write, I also started sorting out a lot of tangled issues in my head – issues that tend to get glossed over, de-prioritized and ignored in the day-to-day bustle of what I call

thenextnextnextital

The long succession of musts and shoulds and have-to’s and plow-forwards we line up in order to fulfill our roles as productive members of society. It’s hard to remove yourself from that flow – to step away and assess The Nextnextnext – and your place in it – objectively.

For me, the issues and questions that arose out of this assessment weren’t gigantic, just, y’know – what kind of human being am I becoming, and what do I want to do with the rest of my life?

The little things.

Despite my copious Sherlock research, my love for the characters, and excitement about my story – I was finding a lot of resistance within myself about finishing the spec (which I still haven’t finished, by the way) (note to aspiring writers: established writers leave stories undone, too, and it eats the core of our souls just like yours; that’s how you know you’re a writer) – but this time the usual suspects weren’t even called in for questioning.

The resistance wasn’t because I didn’t have the story broken, or because I was unsure of the show’s architecture, voice or tone. It wasn’t the standard writers’ resistance – which mainly consists of stamping our tiny feet and sniveling, “This is so hard! I hate this job! And such small portions!” *

 

tantrums

 

No, this was a deeper resistance I felt somewhere in my chest and guts – which makes sense, given it hadn’t yet reached my brain – a resistance I had to fight every time I sat down at the computer. That supremely uncomfortable-in-your-own-skin sensation – the Germans have an awesome word for it: existenzangst – that, if you’re lucky, 10 years down the line you look back on and say, “Of course that’s when everything got uncomfortable – that was when everything started to change.”

Because when you’re comfortable, there’s no reason to change. It’s only when you find yourself struggling with something that change becomes a necessity.

I was resisting this script, resisting finishing.

Because despite how pleased I was with the writing…

…I wasn’t pleased to be writing it.

The more I thought about my goals in life, and the further removed I got from

thenextnextnextital

the more I realized that the human being I was becoming, the human being I was struggling with… was constantly afraid.

That human being just wanted to finish this script so she could land the next job – any job – afraid of losing her career momentum, afraid of being broke again (hey there childhood), afraid that her entire choice of profession was just a terrible, terrible mistake and the Fraud Police were due any minute.

And as for what I wanted to do with the rest of my life? The only thing I was absolutely 100% sure of…

…was that I didn’t want to be writing that fucking “Elementary” spec.

Which scared the watery shit out of me.

It took eight weeks of existenzangst and total withdrawal from The Nextnextnext before I could look at myself in the mirror and admit that after getting burned out by Hollywood and taking 2013 off to pursue fiction, I was now taking the safe road back to show business – the well-trod conventional path – writing other people’s stories, not my own.

Not out of choice, but out of fear.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t been shilling my own shit for years. Aside from the four original pilots that didn’t get sold — this was all pre-FXX/SyFy/Netflix-explosion, dammit to hell — I’ve been lucky; I’ve been close. I wrote a video-game adaptation pilot for Starz (lost in the shake-up of new management). The project I developed in 2012 was sold to HBO and a Big Name, NDA yadda yadda – and before that, I’d been on the brink of a deal with Showtime and John Singleton – so brinky it made Daily Variety.

variety-page

(Right?!? Even though the deal fell through, that pic reminds me it was real, which is weird because sometimes it feels like it was just a really cool dream — since I’m clearly too nerdy to actually have had that happen to me.)

But in my return to screenwriting, I was letting my fear take away my agency. I was acting from a place of scarcity and desperation – a place I’ve spent more time in than out — instead of forging my own path from a mindset of freedom and infinite possibility. I was betraying my capacity for bravery, my own desires…

…and worst of worsts, I was letting this fear dictate my creative choices.

At this point, as an artist, you have to bitchslap yourself and go, “What the FUCK, dude?”

gorillaboobs

This picture was as close as I could come to that What The Fuck? feeling.

So, after reconciling myself to the fact that I wasn’t going to finish the “Elementary” spec in Washington, and accepting that I had been making choices out of cowardice — which is true; that’s not self-denigration — I made the deliberate decision to scorch my creative earth and start from scratch.

This year I consciously declined to enter the Monkey Dance Competition called staffing season, and instead chose to concentrate on my original work, with the goal of selling a pilot of my own this year. It’s a big goal — okay, it’s fucking GIGANTIC fucking goal — but I’ve had a story noodling around my brain for several years now, and in the upcoming weeks and months, I’ll be working on it the same way I worked on TRADE (more on that in a sec). The timing may be a little wackadoodle — it always seems to take longer than you expect — and I may run into six tons of snags, each of which will seem, at the time, insurmountable. But I’ve been doing this long enough to know that a battle of wills between you and a snag will always be won by the party that cares more. And after plodding through two months of existenzangst, re-evaluating my life and my art, I can assure you that if I’m working on something I want to be working on, I will always be the the party that cares more. 

And thus we come to TRADE.

trade-title-page

 

TRADE was an idea I lived with for years before I ever seriously considered writing it. Back then, I think I knew I wasn’t yet technically proficient enough to do the story justice, but once I’d learned a trick or 4 million, I finally felt capable of creating something worth reading, watching, experiencing.

The genesis of the script itself was borne of several factors, not least of which was becoming friends with a high-end escort I’ll call R. I’d already had friends who had done or were doing various kinds of sex work, but never had I gotten a chance to inquire about all the obnoxious things you’ve always wanted to know about sex work but were afraid to ask. Luckily R. was very accommodating of my ignorance and (sometimes invasive and I’m sure insulting) questions, and what she told me was so much more interesting than most folks’ standard ideas of prostitution, that’s when I knew it was time to write TRADE.

I wrote TRADE because the story spoke to me about being female, being commodified and objectified, the “hierarchy” of sex work, subversive models of power, and — I won’t lie — whipping back the covers to demystify all types of sex — from vanilla to kink, hetero to whatevergoes, fetishes to obsessions, and the psychology behind it all. I thought it was a story worth telling, and a story I could tell in a way no one else could. After finishing the final polish, I felt like, fuck yeah!

As a writer, there is no better feeling.

More than one person has asked me, “But why are you putting it online? Doesn’t that make it less valuable? Less likely to be picked up?” And the answer to that, of course, is that it’s been available for years and years to industry insiders — but they did nothing with it. So rather than letting it accumulate virtual dust on my hard drive, I thought that giving my readers — and the web at large, I guess — new content (or in NBCese, “New To You!” content) was not only a great way of sharing a story I feel fuck yeah! about, but perhaps a way to spark discussions about women and the (literal) commodification of sexuality.

But if I’m to be perfectly, perfectly honest, I also wanted to post TRADE as a proof to myself:

See?

You have done this before.

And you can do it again.

The kind of human being I’m becoming wants to be fearless, wants to tell my stories, my way — and so I share one with you now.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, I offer you for download:

 

TRADE

 

I hope it gets you off.

 

 

 

(PC: Right-click on link and save file. Mac: CTRL + click on link, Save Linked File)

* This is an old joke about two biddies who go to a restaurant where they declare the food is terrible… “And such small portions!”

May 31st, 2014 by Mere Smith

WATCH THIS SPACE!

AVAILABLE ON MONDAY

JUNE 2, 2014

MERE SMITH’S PILOT

“TRADE”

AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD!

April 10th, 2014 by Mere Smith

Unlike Scatman Crothers, I Made It Out Of The Overlook

black-and-white-exhale-inhale-note-quote-Favim.com-414761_large

I learned how to do that – the whole inhale, exhale thing – while I was up in Washington the past few months.

It’s not always easy to breathe in L.A.

Sure, there’s the smog and the choking pretentiousness of your fellow man, but sometimes the city itself sits heavy on the chest. The deals, the traffic, the people. Makes it hard to get air in. You small-sip it, never noticing how each sip gets smaller – until suddenly you’re Giles Corey being pressed to death – SPLAT.

L.A. was SPLATting me.

So I went to stay in a small cabin on a small hill, 20 minutes outside a small town, in order to write a spec script, which I did… minus a couple unfinished scenes I’m still battling like some fucking Game Of Thrones character who won’t die: the Beric Dondarrion of scripts. (That one was for you, bro.) However, spec aside, I found a lot more than I expected in that cabin – a lot more than I expected in me – like how to finally

black-and-white-exhale-inhale-note-quote-Favim.com-414761_large

 

Deeply. Fully.

I’ll write about my experiences soon. For now they’re still fermenting in the old brain juice – and as the ancient philosopher Orson Welles once said, “Ye shall blog no whine before its tyme.” He was a weird guy.

But other things press!

(If you hadn’t already noticed, this post’s gonna ramble. I am an out of practice blogger – which intellectually is, like, one step above coral – and I got a lot of ground to cover, so give a bitch a break.)

First let’s talk about this:

logo-and-booth-number

 

That’s right, ladies and germos,

THIS WEEKEND
APRIL 12 – 13

I will be at

THE LA TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS
ON THE USC CAMPUS
BOOTH 157 – BOOTH 157 – BOOTH 157

(I call that “cheap 3-D”: 3-Damn Times)

UCLA alums, I have already offered to lay down cover fire if shit gets real.

Naturally, I’ll be accompanied in this endeavor by my fellow author and co-founder of The Asylum Collective (unclench! I’ll get there!), Eric Sipple – also known as my webmaster-slash-bitch, aka W/B, aka Sippy Cup.

And yeah, I do call him Sippy Cup. He still answers my texts. Who’s got the low self-esteem now, YOU SIXTH-GRADE BITCHES?

Whoa. Middle-school flashback.

Point is, this weekend I’m gonna be in downtown Los Angeles shilling books, motherfuckers –

 

cowfacecoverblog

like the one right up there

plus this one down here

bloodroomcoverblog

 

and this next one too, which I only wrote 2% of but

was edited by Leslie Marinelli, publishing mogul extraordinaire

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These are all really fun books – ones I swear you won’t regret reading unless you’re really trying to be an asshole – and if you’re nice – or even better, if you’re not – I’ll sign them for you! That’s right! Totally ruin a brand new book by scrawling my stupid name in it – I will DO that shit for you, man – because you’re my friend, faceless anonymous blog reader!

I can’t speak for Eric, though, who will be shamelessly flogging his own book like a sad old hooker with tits to her toes. Just don’t throw pennies at him this time, okay? It’s mean and it makes him cry. And being mean and making him cry is my job.

Speaking of which, earlier I mentioned The Asylum Collective, and you were like, “Whaaaat?” and I was like, “Unclench! I’ll get there!” and now we’re here.

So.

Eric and I have been kicking an idea back and forth for a little over a year, and in the next few paragraphs, I’m going to give you the smallest amount of information I can get away with without someone going, “Well why the fuck did you bring it up?”

The Asylum Collective really started coming together after I wrote this.

I hadn’t intended for that blog post to become some sort of art manifesto – actually, I’m pretty sure it’s still not a manifesto, since I don’t know how to write a manifesto; rather surprisingly, there was no Manifesto Writing course at Brown – but through the process of writing that post, a bunch of nebulous stuff I’d been turning around in my head suddenly clarified. Thoughts about art and social media, the nature of inspiration and collaboration between artists, the currently-shifting rubrics for cultural gatekeepers.

The Asylum Collective will be a website.

And yet it will be so much more than a website.

We’re months away from launch – hell, with our schedules, maybe several, several months – but we knew the project was a fucking behemoth from the jump, and we’re not going anywhere. We hope you stick around, too.

For those of you who don’t know, the very name, The Asylum Collective, comes from the imaginary “asylum” I run on my Twitter account (@EvilGalProds) – the joke being, of course, that you’d have to be crazy to follow me.  So the Asylum is already in existence in one platform – we’re just going to build an expansive new wing – where you can draw on the walls.

But if I told you any more, I’d have to lobotomize you.

April 1st, 2014 by Mere Smith

Update On The Shining

From January 14 to March 14

 

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Details to come soon. Just wanted to let y’all know what I’ve been up to for the last three months.

January 18th, 2014 by Mere Smith

Recording The Shining

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January 18, 2014 – Day Fourteen 

I saw the sun today.

For six minutes.

Looked just like I remembered it.

Went back inside.

 

sandrabullock1
sandrabullock2

 

January 17, 2014 – Day Thirteen 

Literally me today.

 

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January 16, 2014 – Day Twelve 

So that’s what it looked like when I got here.

This is what it looked like today:

fogggggg

Strangely, though, the fog seems to act like some kind of productivity blanket (I was about to type “or shroud,” but the fog’s spooky enough on its own) – making me feel like I’m all curled up away from the world…

…which, okay, yes, for all practical intents and purposes I was curled up already. But you know how there’s a difference between when you dance in front of other people, and when you dance by yourself? (Don’t pretend you don’t understand what I’m talking about, you lying dancing liarpantses.) The fog makes me feel like I’m dancing in a room with no windows, no prying eyes, no judgments.

See, I don’t know how other TV folk write specs, but me, I need full immersion in the show before I feel confident enough to recreate it. Like living in Spain to learn Spanish. The original story I bring to the spec is the easy part: it’s molding that story to someone else’s vision that takes work. This means watching episodes over and over and over until I can “hear” the characters’ voices without trying. It also means – same as I did for my “Sopranos” spec 200 years ago – logistically breaking down and diagramming a couple shows, as seen here in my oh-so-cryptic code:

photo-45
 

(That’s “Poison Pen”, by the way: S2E4, by Robert Doherty and Liz Friedman.)

This allows me to see the fundamental architecture of a script, like a reverse-engineered outline – as well as letting me track certain patterns inherent in the show, i.e.: on average, how many locations are they hitting per act? Over how many days does the story take place? How many interiors vs. how many exteriors? The number of amazing deductions Sherlock makes in a scene? The number Joan makes? (Answer: surprisingly, a LOT. To be honest, I didn’t realize how well the writers were balancing the deductive labor, since Sherlock usually makes the more outlandish leaps of reason, and those are the ones that stick with you.) What kind of space is given to the topics of addiction, or Moriarty, or the dynamics of working with the police? And on and blah and on. Like I said, total immersion.

(And if you’re not a writer, I apologize, because that entire previous paragraph probably bored the fuckstuffing out of you.)

All this shit is what you’d normally hash out in a writers’ room with a bunch of other people. Unfortunately with a spec, it’s 100% All On You, So Do Your Homework And Don’t Fuck It Up.

That’s what I mean by a productivity blanket. The fog erases the outside world and allows me to disappear into “Elementary”’s.

So don’t mind me, I’m just gonna keep practicing my little dance in here until I’m ready to hit the club.

 

canttalkaboutit

 

January 15, 2014 – Day Eleven 

 

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January 14, 2014 – Day Ten 

Act Two down.

Hello, Acts Three and Four.

 

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January 13, 2014 – Day Nine 

Sherlock’s bees.

I am one of them.

I have just placed the outline for the Teaser and Act One in the 14th honeycomb on the right.

Sure, it’s just masticated nectar at this point, but soon…

Soon it will be sweet bee vomit.

 

photo-39

 

January 12, 2014 – Day Eight 

Entering the deep waters.

It’s dangerous.

You guys stay here.

 

photo-38

 

January 11, 2014 – Day Seven 

[[WARNING: SPOILERS FOR ELEMENTARY SEASONS ONE AND TWO BELOW]]

Inside day.

Schizophrenic atmospheric conditions: foggy, cloudy, sunny, windy, rainy, wrath-of-god-rainy, Treenados. The weather needs some Haldol.

Tomorrow I start building the new architecture of my original story. Not as daunting as building something completely ex nihilo, but not not daunting, either. Obviously a lot’s changed on the show since I left off the spec last year (for example, it turns out Irene Adler and Moriarty are the same person, who is also Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones, thus officially making Natalie Dormer THE biggest badass on television, dragons or no motherfuckin’ dragons, khaleesi) – and so adjustments have to be made.

Definitely nervous, but the same way I imagine a guy feels in the batter’s box: yes, there’s anxiety, and a weird, very public, dread — Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a three-and-out of my hat! – but there’s also this burning desire to swing so hard you knock the cover off the goddamn ball, just like Chipper Jones did a couple years ago. An internal revving, a “bring it,” a “let’s do this.” (Note to aspiring screenwriters: never, never, ever actually put those phrases in a script. Trust me, I’m saving careers here.)

Am anxious to rise tomorrow, to do yoga, to get started.

 

exhaustidog

 

January 10, 2014 – Day Six 

Remember how I said I worked like a MONSTER yesterday?

Was reading Sherlock this afternoon on the couch, when suddenly the book got really close to my eyes, then eased back to a normal distance, then got really close again, then slowly back to normal… it was only when it happened the third time that I realized it wasn’t the book moving — it was my head. I was, quite literally, trying to read and sleep at the same time. And as the time-honored saying in my clan goes: Fuck that. I’m taking a nap.

So I did. Right there in the middle of the afternoon, on the couch, curled under a blanket, for two solid hours.

Let me tell you, they may’ve been two of the greatest hours of my life.

Not because of the sleep — though the sleep was fucking fantastic, seriously — but because I didn’t feel guilty about it.

Okay.

So if you do as much headshrinkery and yoga as I do, you get real familiar with the phrase, “Give yourself permission to… (whatever).”

Give yourself permission to feel anger.

Give yourself permission to relax your shoulder muscles.

It seems a little odd at first, the notion that there’s some other “you” you need to appeal to in order to get something done — some higher, more-authoritative “you” that apparently reigns over the rest of… well, you. (Freud would call it the superego — though for some reason, that’s always given me the mental image of a red capital E flying around in a cape.) If you wanna get all neurological about it, we’re talking about your frontal lobe, the area code in your brain that spans higher reasoning and judgment — the part of you that keeps you from doing insane and dangerous things, like speeding in the rain on a mountain road, or befriending a rabid lion, or trying to steal a sip off my mom’s margarita. All that shit will get you killed, son.

Even Bill Nye would agree — that’s how scientifically accurate this is; I’m not fucking around — there is technically a “you” that’s sorta in charge of the rest of you. (“Sorta” is a science word.)  And as I’ve learned from both the yoga and the headshrinkage, just being aware and conscious enough to ask that “you” for permission is usually enough for “you” to give it over. After all, it’s not as if your higher reasoning is gonna be like, No, I do not give you permission to relax your shoulder muscles! I like the way they’re feeling all pinchy and hurty and tight. I hope our whole neck cramps up tomorrow! 

(Man, superego, you’re a dick!)

(Or maybe that’s just Freud again.)

No, it seems “ask and ye shall receive” actually is the case — and like all excruciating cliches, it is only redeemed by the merit of being true.

That’s why this afternoon, when my head nearly crashed into the book a third time, I thought about all the work I’d done yesterday, and all the work I’d accomplished so far that day — and how this retreat, in its remoteness and quietude, is almost forcing me to be more mindful, more aware of what I want and what I need — and as so rarely happens in my regular, driven, ambitious life, I finally — and fully – gave myself permission to rest.

I slept like that dog up there.

 

photo-36

 

January 9, 2014 – Day Five 

What writer’s retreat is complete without a library?

At last, the Box O’Books arrived! Also included: my zombie slippers and yoga mat. Y’know, the important stuff.

Worked like a fucking MONSTER today; it felt fabulous.  Also I ate some bacon.

 

photo-35

 

January 8, 2014 – Day Four 

This is what happens when I have no TV at night.

Crafts. 

I’m practically almost fucking Amish now… if the Amish liked to knit their clothes out of obnoxiously bright, sequined, and silk-feathered yarn.

So I’m Amishpunk, which is just like steampunk, only without all the newfangled technology.

 

photo-34

 

January 7, 2014 – Day Three 

So here’s the Overlook Hotel at dusk. Don’t worry, you don’t have to tell me how amazingly incredibly perfect it is, I already know. So perfect in fact that I keep waiting for Someone In Authority to barge in, grab me by the neck, and growl, “Who said you deserve to be here?”

Sadly, I ask myself variations on that question more often than I’d like.

Only three days into the woods, and in the absolute drop off of bustle and hum, I find myself making casual realizations like this: that I often feel unworthy of the good things in my life. It’s as if I believe, deep in my bones (completely irrationally, I’m well aware) that at some point in the past I committed an unspeakable crime… only I can’t remember what it is, just that I owe for it. I owe for it. I’m on the red side of the moral balance sheets, and to wish for or receive anything beyond a basic survival amount of happiness is… I don’t know… flouting punishment? tempting fate? getting greedy?

Anyway, something horrible and indecorous that will inevitably lead to the end of the world. Not to be grandiose.

As I said, though, this particular irrational thought — that I am somehow unworthy of happiness — isn’t unique to my current situation. I carry it around with me every day. It’s simply that here in the Overlook, when 90% of the outside noise disappears, the echo of that thought sticks around a lot longer, clanging and re-clanging off the silent walls, off the inside of my head. And I am grateful for the quiet.

For in this moment, at least — and maybe it only takes a succession of these moments, staying mindful enough to create a succession of these moments, to make the feeling disappear permanently — instead of letting that sense of unworthiness slip back into my primordial angst soup like it always does, this time I’m grabbing it by the neck and growling, “Who said you deserve to be here?”

 

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January 6, 2014 – Day Two 

Went for my morning run — frost-covered fields, ice-encrusted hay crunching under my feet. Cold didn’t bother me at all — was layered as a wedding cake — but my lungs felt ready to explode. Pretty convinced there’s no air in the air here. EPA might wanna look into that. After the run, meditated. Like a boss.

Forgot how fast I read when I’m not distracted (i.e., with the TV on in the background, or constantly checking Twitter, email, Tumblr, phone games, etc.). Have already plowed through An Anthropologist On Mars by Oliver Sacks and You’d Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs, and just started Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney. Only one other “recreational” book until my Box O’Books arrives on Thursday — Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Feel like I’m adjusting my mental to the slower pace. Have a horrifying suspicion that I may be forced into town to procure knitting material.

Yes, fuckers. I knit scarves. Only scarves, but I can fucking knit. Yuk it up.

Script-wise, been re-re-reading The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vols. I & II and taking notes — pointedly now, knowing the basic elements of my story, searching out pertinent twists on classic Sherlockian devices.

Lovely here. But.

I miss the Finance.

 

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January 5, 2014 – Day One

Am somewhere beyond this mountain.  Cabin is amazing in that way where you say the “MAY” part a really long time. Unpacked all my shit – surprising, for me – while blasting music, singing at the top of my lungs, dancing. Hope my happiness eats away at @saalon like a cancer.

 

 

January 3rd, 2014 by Mere Smith

Shakabuku!

A beautiful, hopeful, happy, and shameless New Year to y’all! 

 

So this pretty much sums up my take on the beginning of 2014:

 

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It’s a giggle fit in the offing, a gleam in the eye, an adventure soon to be swashbuckled!

I AM MOVING TO WASHINGTON!

(Okay, okay, that was a totally cheap mislead and I’m sorry. Those of you who read my books know I can’t pass up a cheap mislead. If there is a mislead on Clearance in Filene’s Basement, I will inevitably buy it.)

Therefore to clarify:

I AM MOVING TO WASHINGTON…

FOR A LITTLE WHILE!

Yes, dear readers: as of this Sunday, January 5, I will be temporarily relocating to an undisclosed location (okay, it’s a cabin) in Washington state for the next month or so, to seek solitude, inspiration, and shakabuku, defined in Grosse Pointe Blank as “a swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.”

‘Cause I think I could use one of those right about now.

See, by the end of 2013, I realized I was doing a lot of writing – like, a LOT a LOT — but none of it was for TV. Which is a tad self-defeating for a TV writer. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve got ideas coming out of every orifice (oh yeah, even that one; in fact, those ideas might be the best) for original shows, but after spending two years in Development Hell (otherwise known as Sorry-But-Your-Material-Is-So-Out-Of-The-Box-We-Don’t-Even-Know-Where-The-Box-Is-Anymore-And-Oh-By-The-Way-I-See-You-Have-A-Vagina-Let-My-Assistant-Show-You-Out), I switched focus to fiction for a time just to offset the accumulated maulings of my creative self-esteem. The only problem with fiction is that it pays about .000000013 cents an hour, so it’s time to get staffed on TV again before I’m reduced to living in a microwave* under the 405.

But in order to staff up, I gotta write some new TV material (apparently I can’t keep relying on that “Sopranos” spec like I used to; some nonsense about it being “dated” and “cancelled”), so I’m taking the rather drastic step of isolating myself in the woods in order to finish the “Elementary” spec I started earlier this year, only this time with no distractions – y’know, like getting interrupted by a brain cancer scare, and then withstanding medication FUBARs, and then publishing two books, and then flying to a foreign country to sell them, and then, and then, and then…

At this point, I’ve only got two solid plans for Washington:

  • research
  • write the spec

And given that the cabin has no TV (holy shit, I just got dizzy for a second), I’ll also be trying a couple other things, like:

  • reading the fuckton of books I’m shipping to myself
  • updating the blog daily – mind you, most of these updates will probably be two sentences long:
    • “Revised Act Three last night. Started My Booky Wook by Russell Brand.”
    • “Hey, did you guys know weed is legal in Washington? I mean, I think it is. Is it? I’m hungry.”
    • “I have begun speaking to the coyotes in their own language. All vowels. Bit like Hawaiian.”
  • staying off-grid as much as possible (insanely tough, but I’m committed)
  • 30 straight days of morning meditation
  • and various other mini-ARTprojects

Also, I’ll probably be Instagramming a bunch of pictures that may or may not document my descent into Jack Torrance territory.

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I’ll miss you all terribly while I’m gone (seriously, I’m terrible at missing people; I’ll probably forget y’all even exist)(total lie: I’ll be grid-lurking at intervals), and if you write or tweet me and you don’t hear back, please know it’s for a good reason: I have walked off into the snow to die.

That, or I’m really focused on finishing the script.

At this point, I can see it going either way, so:

 

WELCOME 2014!

BRING ON THE SHAKABUKU!

 

See you on the flipside, friendos!

 

 

 

* 10 bonus points if you now call this a “science oven”

October 4th, 2013 by Mere Smith

My Siblings Are Better Than Your Siblings

UPDATE!
October 21, 2013

A new entry from my other brother!

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He called it a BOOK ANGEL, which I fucking love!

(And obviously, the model is his girlfriend. She’s way prettier.)

*******************************************************************************************

Right after my book launch, my brother and sister engaged in a who-can-buy-more-books contest.

I adored this for three reasons.

  1. My siblings are better than your siblings.
  2. Yes! Give me your money now so I don’t have to borrow it from you later!
  3. Whenever the two of them compete — over anything — laughs are bound to ensue.

So when the books finally arrived, I figured my brother won with this entry:

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After which he taunted my sister mercilessly, calling her the “second-place sibling” and “a Bieber-loving Twihard who doesn’t understand the Evil Gal World”.

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I knew he was in trouble when she texted him back, “Oh, it’s on now, bitch.”

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And true to form, my sister sent my brother and me this gem an hour ago:

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YOU WIN, SIS!

(And I love you both!)

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LAST CALL FOR SIGNED COPIES

OFFER ENDS AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!

Cowface And Other Hilarious Stories About Death

and

The Blood Room

.

Get your crazy while it’s hot!

September 27th, 2013 by Mere Smith

WOTS You Missed…

So to be perfectly honest, after two solid months of working on books, I’m a little worded-out.

Instead, here are some pictures (1,000 words a pop, mind you — I may be tired, but I’m not cheap), to share our experience at…

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The night before, dinner at The Harlem Underground (excellent jambalaya!)…

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Left to right, @EvilGalProds, @saalon, @Lionnesss, @onikaze, his friend Carolyn, and @LWQuestie 

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Later that night, picking a GRAND PRIZE WINNER@OnOneCondition!

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The next day dawned cold and windy.  Pre-set-up…

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BAH-KOW! Post-set-up…

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Our lovely Toronto tour guide, @Lionnesss, in her limited edition EGP “Welcome To The Asylum” shirt…

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Next three pictures by @NYPinTA

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Lots of readers, and one Crazy Cthulubunny Guy…

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Now imagine this stretching on for over a mile…

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Our special You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth section, edited by @TheBeardedIris

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Me signing books, Eric decapitated… just the way I like it.

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Look, Ma! Groupies! (left to right, @Lionnesss, @NYPinTA, and @LWQuestie)

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Me ‘n’ Demoncow reppin’ the 310 in Moose Country…

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(photo by @Lionnesss)

 

After it was all over, the exhaustion set in…

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…until we got back to the Airbnb condo, grabbed some take-out, and started planning the next phase of our global media empire!

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Don’t be fooled by the smiles. We hate each other. No, seriously. (Is anyone still buying this?)

Last but definitely most, here’s a more personal video my dearest Finance put together of our Toronto trip. Yes, that is him, and yes, he is always that weird. Can you imagine anyone more perfect for me?

(Note the continuous Travel Bitchface I wear whenever I’m near/in an airport. Poor Finance.)

September 24th, 2013 by Mere Smith

IT’S BOOK LAUNCH DAY!

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The day you’ve all been waiting for! Or at least, the day I’ve been waiting for, since I’m ULTRASUPERSTOKED to share these stories with you!  Wherein “share” means “you give me a nominal amount of money and then I give you the books — do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck?”

How do you get them? Well, there are three — count ‘em, THREE! — ways you can obtain these little motherfuckers.

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OPTION ONE: SIGNED COPIES!

Want me to write some crazy shit in your book? Order signed copies and I’ll write anything you want! (Anything that doesn’t have to do with Nazis or the Klan, that is — unless it’s “Fuck Nazis!” or “Fuck the Klan!” Either of those, I’ll totally do, and I’ll even draw a little happy face next to it.) This is a limited time offer, as we’re running out of first editions (we had tremendous sales up at Toronto’s Word On The Street Festival, which was fantastic, but means there aren’t too many left), and also, I can’t be all nice and a good person and sign y’all’s stuff for twelve hours a day. Who do you think I am, Neil Gaiman?

SIGNED COPIES OF

 Cowface And Other Hilarious Stories About Death

(or as it was recently called on Twitter, COWFACE OHSAD, which I kind of love),

are available HERE

and

The Blood Room

are available HERE

Order a signed version, tweet me @EvilGalProds what you’d like to me to inscribe (or if it’s private/creepy/weird, let me know, and you can DM me, you freako), and maybe — just maybe — you’ll get a free Evil Gal Productions bookmark slipped inside!

(created by Karen J. Wellenkamp at RagtagDesign.com)

Ordering signed copies means a little additional shipping and handling (since it’s all in-house, as in, “I am mailing them from the actual house I live in”), and your books might take a little longer to get to you (1-2 weeks), but in the meantime, you can pursue…

OPTION TWO: PRISTINE COPIES!

Hit up The Amazon! Granted, they get a big chunk of my the money, unlike with the signed editions, where I clear the whole profit (of $2 – ’cause we roll dirty rich up in hyeah), but some folks like their books really fast and OCD spotless. I get this. And oh my friends, I have the solution: ORDER TWO COPIES FROM EACH OPTION! That way you get my amazing autograph — a really big M and S with a whole bunch of loops and swirls after ‘em — to keep on your bookshelf and show off to friends who probably won’t care very much but that’s their loss — AND a copy you can have in your grubby little hands within a couple days!

AMAZON COPIES OF

 Cowface And Other Hilarious Stories About Death

are available HERE

and

The Blood Room

are available HERE

If you’re interested in e-books, you can also snap up the Kindle versions from Amazon while you’re there, OR…

OPTION THREE: PAY WHAT YOU WANT E-BOOKS!

Help an indie sister out!

Yes, just like Amanda Fucking Palmer, I truly believe people want to help other people, especially people who’re taking risks and chasing their dreams. Or rather, stalking, chasing, and then taking down their dreams like a tiger does a hippopotamus. I don’t know whether tigers really eat hippopotami — actually, I’m pretty sure they don’t even live on the same continent — but that’s what this is like. Just trust me.

So join the grand social experiment! Be part of the new media revolution! You tell me what you think my books are worth, set your own price, and within minutes you’ll have the electronic versions transferred to your favorite reading device, because BONUS:

If you order through our pay-what-you-want system, you get BOTH e-books in one bundle, instead of having to order them separately through Kindle!

Want to support the arts and lots of swearing?

Go HERE!

(available in Kindle and ePub formats)

AND LEST YE THINK I’VE FORGOTTEN:

OUR GRAND PRIZE #WOTS WINNER,

CHOSEN AT RANDOM FROM MY SUBSCRIBER LIST,

WHO GETS ALL THIS AWESOME STUFF:

is @OnOneCondition!

Congratulations, @OnOneCondition! I’ll be contacting you shortly for your address!

 

Coming Soon:
The Unabridged #WOTS Adventure!